Archive for December 2nd, 2009

My sister and I spent many a weekend helping our parents clean out their old New Hampshire farmhouse full of stuff and getting them ready to move to a more manageable home. As I have written before, the house was (still is) crammed to the rafters with the spoils of lives my parents spent together as collectors.

tamside

At one point, when we were going through one particularly full room and sorting things into four categories: dumpster, charity, move with the folks or save for sale or keep, my sister noted the “save for sale or keep” pile next to me was getting out of hand. After I made my case for why I needed all the stuff (art projects, for my second home of the future, etc.) she stated that I had “a little bit of the disease.”

The disease of course is being a collector of things we love. My sister did not get the gene, she can do away with just about anything with minimal sentimentality. My two older brothers have the disease and have had it much worse and longer than I have. My oldest brother from as long as I have memories was scouring the back roads of New Hampshire searching for vintage radios and record players – many of which he purchased and brought home on the back of his ten-speed bicycle.

My other brother collects so much that it is scary. Starting with comic books when we were kids to records and related ephemera to baseball memorabilia from cards to bobble heads.

My collections were always more modest. Wanting to take part in the family pastime of spending weekends at auctions, flea markets and tag sales, I set out to find things related to my only boyhood interest: firemen. I wanted a real fire helmet and I looked long and hard for it. Finally I found one at a place called “Browser’s Paradise” on the first visit when I was about 10 years old. I mention that it was the first visit to this place as going there to see “Browser” became a ritual for many years.

The fire helmet is still with me and is one of my most cherished possessions. Little did I know that much like finding the little Lost Cowboy, that first “find” was a telltale symptom of the “disease.” But as Diana Ross once warbled, “If there’s a cure for this – I don’t want it.

HOLIDAY FIND:

The ornaments of Jayson Home and Garden

GIFT WE WANT:

A must have – a Fossil watch – hey it’s a tradition

WAY TO GIVE BACK:

Buy Starbucks Red product to support African aid